Joe Ramiro Garcia “Keep Off The Grass”

David Richard Gallery

Nov. 23, 2024 - Dec. 23, 2021

211 East 121st Street
New York, 10035
PHONE 212 882-1705

David Richard Gallery is pleased to present Joe Ramiro Garcia, Keep Off the Grass, his first solo exhibition in New York and debut with the gallery. Garcia’s paintings are narrative, derived from current events and inspired by art historical figures, while the imagery and palettes reference personal memories and emotions. Initially, the paintings appear Pop-inspired and a collaging of everyday, somewhat banal and often appropriated images. However, the paintings are highly technical in that they also incorporate a complex printing process to introduce certain imagery that provides not only layers of color and detail, but also content as a referent and/or memory trigger. The medium for the image transfer process is paint, not ink, so that every layer and detail in the composition is painted.

As noted, the imagery and color palettes are mostly personal, referencing Garcia’s childhood growing up in Houston with certain rooms, colors and kitchen appliances in the family home as well as the exposure to cartoon characters, television shows, household products and brands, and contemporary culture at the time. Other characters such as Louie the cat, stuffed teddy bears, furniture, paint brushes and coffee cups are the artist’s possessions. Much of the referenced artworks, news clippings and photographs incorporated in the paintings are from art books, newspapers, memorabilia and ephemera.

The presentation includes 12 new artworks from 2021 and a selection of works from 2010, 2014 and 2019 to ground some of the characters and references in Garcia’s repertoire for the uninitiated. While 13 of the artworks are oil and alkyd on canvas or linen, mostly mounted on panel and incorporating the novel printing technique noted above, there are several monotype works on paper included in the presentation.

The layering of pigment in Garcia’s paintings not only makes them tactile, but the appearance of clippings and ephemera folded and haphazardly taped to the surface, casual doodles and objects scattered about alongside the nearly photoreal imagery brings a literalness and immediacy to the work that starkly contrasts with the cartooning, retro colors and historic images. Garcia’s painterly and less than perfect approach to painting is the norm, while the move to greater use of realism is relatively recent. This mashup of binaries: cartoons and hyperreality; contemporary and retro culture; today’s news and historical references; the artist’s memories as signifiers and the viewer’s reactions all create an internal tension that make the compositions engaging and energetic. Ultimately, the viewer’s own memory and experiences are what create the narrative. The titles can be leading, but the array of images, references and colors are really decoded and reconstructed by the viewer. Garcia just lures the viewer with eye-grabbing colors, surreal compositions, bold contrasts and a lot of ambiguity.

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